CBS News State Department correspondent Margaret Brennan describes the impact made by paid workers and volunteers from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. / CBS News
Oct. 26, 2013, is the 23rd annual Make A Difference Day, the nationís largest day of community service.
On Make A Difference Day 2013, millions of volunteers will unite to improve the lives of others in their communities.
Find out how you can join us at www.makeadifferenceday.com.
When we drove into the Zaíatri refugee camp just a few hours before sundown, paid workers and volunteers from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) rushed to finish proj≠ects before dark, when riots often occur.
More than 120,000 people live in hastily erected tents on this slice of Jordanian desert just over the Syrian border. Nearly 2 million other Syrians have fled into nearby countries, most of them women and children, prompting the U.N. to call the exodus the biggest humanitarian tragedy this century.
Um Ahmed, a mother who fled Syria on foot along with four of her children, is one of the many who have benefited from the work of UNHCR volunteers. When I met her that night, she was suffering from an untreated ailment that distended her stomach. While in the camp, UNHCR doctors, along with volunteers, also helped her 5-year-old son, whose leg was shattered when a rocket hit near their home.
Itís estimated that nearly 4 million displaced Syrian children need humanitarian assistance, and the UNHCR relies on volunteers to provide aid to people like Ahmed and her children.
Ahmedís story and the work of the UNHCR volunteers is a stark reminder that national security is not only determined in government buildings but is often shaped by those people who freely give of their time to make a difference in the face of catastrophe.